I found the perfect image to represent the face I make when I read something stupid!
Disclaimer: I wasn’t blessed with her beauty.
These Clothes Called Fat (because I’m not going to even try and remember the Japanese name) is an interesting attempt at trying to showcase the evils of the world. In a way, it’s similar to that of Aku no Hana. But where Aku no Hana has teenage angst, These Clothes Called Fat has a fat girl constantly getting harassed by a number of different events (that she sometimes causes herself) in an effort to evoke pity and justification for her actions. Almost like a more tame version of Our Happy Hours.
Before I say anything else, this story’s artistic direction is atrocious. This is not a pretty manga. Corners were cut. Realism was sacrificed. It looks like a hollow shell of what could’ve been, had the artist actually tried to make the characters look nice. One could say that the dark themes and mindsets to these characters are better suited for this ugly design, showing that they may be beautiful to others, but not to the readers. Almost like a reminder that you’re supposed to hate these characters. However, it always seems to be something like that, doesn’t it? Do what you want with that information. It may better suit the symbolism of the story, but the art is ugly nonetheless. The nipples are just crooked ovals, for fuck’s sake.
Now then, I’ve never been a huge fan of the type of storytelling that is present in These Clothes Called Fat. A central character has a lot of bad things happen to them. Because of this, they do bad things to themselves. As a reader, you’re obviously aware that the things they’re doing are bad, but you can’t tell them that, and you can’t help them snap out of it. You just have to sit back and try to hope they’ll get through it. Sometimes they snap out of it, sometimes they don’t. It feels very confining.
The central character, in this case, is fat. She’s fat and people pick on her for being fat. Thankfully, though, she has the aid of her boyfriend to keep her spirits lifted. But alas, her boyfriend has some dark secrets of his own. And her co-workers have dark secrets. And some old man she fucks later on in the story has some dark secrets. Everybody’s got dark secrets up in this crib. God damn. This would be all fine and dandy if the central character wasn’t the only one who got some focus in the story. Everyone else is just fucked up for the sake of being fucked up. The reader is supposed to hate them because they’re inherently evil, despite the whole “Oh, I know I’m evil, but I can’t help it!” schtick.
Now that you know that you’re going to hate every character other than the main character, let’s talk about the main character. She’s fat. She has a boyfriend. One of her co-workers makes her life miserable because she’s fat. But wait, there’s more! She’s also a pushover, something that’s stereotypical of fat people, as well. She just takes whatever happens to her. Little do the other characters know that the result of these things allow the central character to eat more and more until she explodes. This leads the reader to believe that she’s fat only because she’s stressed out. But wait, there’s more! She’s been fat her whole life, according to flashbacks. So, if it was really just that, wouldn’t she be, like, a ton at this point?
She’s constantly victimized. Constantly. Hate the people around her, but not her herself. There’s a reason she’s doing these bad things, like fucking old men and women and puking and binge eating. There has to be some point where the line has to be drawn. And with the constant victimizing situations, there’s no room for growth. Every time she becomes happy with her progress, someone drags her back down to the pits of Hell once again. It’s like watching Watamote all over again. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity. Pity.
Victimize the main character so that she’s allowed to be exempt from hate, despite her actions: check.
Make all other characters evil so the central character looks better: check.
Make art ugly because lack of effort(?) + symbolic: check.
Never let main character escape her struggles: check.
The story has traces of upside. I found myself feeling sorry for the main character, even farther along in the story. I felt genuinely good for her when she started to lose weight. I actually cared about the main character. When does that ever happen? But every time she tried to break out of her shell (they actually use that analogy), someone would push her back in it. Stunts the growth. Ruins the story. But hey, what else are they going to do to continue the story? Focus on other characters? That’s pretty funny.
Personal Score: C
Critical Score: C-